IFBC 2014: Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plant-Based Diets

September 25, 2014 in Vegetarian Entrees

Reflections on #IFBC Seattle and the foundations of our food.

Marinated Veg

Marinated Veggie Salad Jars (click through for the recipe!)

 

As predicted and expected, we had a grand time at IFBC in Seattle last weekend. The surroundings, the conversation, the company, the food samplings, and yes, the swag. I always walk away from a conference recharged and refreshed, and this was no exception.

Out of many thought-provoking and entertaining sessions, one of the most engaging was the first, with Karen Page and Andrew Dornenberg,  two of today’s most renowned food writers who shared their inspiring story with warmth, wisdom and humor. I’ve been a fan for many years, and started using the seasoning guidelines tucked away in the back of my dog-eared, stained and scribbled-upon copy of Culinary Artistry long before they came out with the gloriously exponential expansion of that idea, The Flavor Bible. (Forgive me for sounding like a bit of a hipster.  How did the hipster burn his tongue? He drank his coffee before it was cool.)

Page has just come out with the Vegetarian Flavor Bible, the ebook of which was generously given to attendees to peruse (I can totally vouch for its excellence), and the last part of their presentation was devoted to talking about the potential health benefits of a plant-based diet, with emphasis on veganism – and certainly many have found great results from this approach. Being people who are passionate about all kinds of food and many approaches to health, including those for whom a vegan diet might be detrimental to their health, there was of course some online conversation among attendees; for just a moment, you could sense the #ifbc Twitter stream shifting uncomfortably in its seat.

And then we headed into the beef butchering demo. #ironyorjustuncannyjuxtaposition #thingsyoucantmakeup   Read the rest of this entry →

One Pot Poached Salmon with Fennel and Citrus

September 23, 2014 in Entrees, Healthy Fare

Poached salmon with a soft buttery texture and citrus and fennel.

One Pot Salmon with Citrus and Fennel

One Pot Salmon with Citrus and Fennel

Poaching is an under-utilized technique, IMHO. Poached fish is especially lovely because of the delicate flesh of the fish. Nothing is worse than dry, overcooked fish.

I recently fell in love with Coconut Milk Poached Fish, and decided to try another poached fish – my favorite: salmon.

Salmon is delicious infused with citrus flavors, and lemon alone is good, but the addition here of oranges and grapefruit make this salmon dish so flavorful.

When fall begins, I find myself longing for slow cooked food. This is a simple dish – and I just served it with crusty French bread for a complete meal.

One Pot Salmon

One Pot Salmon – Before

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20 Minute Chorizo Corn Chowder

September 19, 2014 in Soups and Stews

Flavorful corn chowder with a kick of heat.

Chorizo Corn Chowder

Corn chowder just got a whole lot more flavorful.

I love corn chowder.  There are just so many ways to go with corn – and this time I decided to pair corn with a little heat and spice. My favorite grocery store where I live (Harmon’s) has a wonderful meat department, and I love their chorizo. It is spicy but not to hot, rich but not too fatty.  I have also made my own chorizo, and it would work well in this chowder. But for the sake of time I used the store bought sausage here.

I love the crunch of the corn in this – cooked just a little so that the kernels retain their pop.

This chowder takes 20 minutes, tops – yet the broth has so much flavor and depth because of the chorizo. And the touch of sweetness from the coconut milk makes a perfect balance.

You will fall in love with this spicy soup – and be sure to have some crusty bread handy for sopping up the broth. Either that or lick your bowl like I did!

 — posted by Donna

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Raw Beet and Farro Salad

September 16, 2014 in Side Dishes, Vegan Recipes

Yes, they’re raw. Beets in a whole new way.

Raw Beet and Farro Salad

I discovered raw beets about a year ago, and it truly was a revelation.

They are crunchy and delicious, and so pretty on a plate. I paired them here with the ancient grain farro – the flavor of cashews in a grain! This is my first time using the grain that is so popular in Italy, and I loved the results. I bought semi-pearled farro, which just needs to be simmered until soft. If you buy whole grain farro, you will have to give it a soak overnight first. Farro has the texture of wheat berries, but tastes like cashews.

And then, raw beets. I have used them raw before in a Beet and Butternut Slaw, and found out the key: make very thin slices. Paper thin. As thin as you can get. If they are thin, they are crunchy and delicious.

So here I paired them with celery, leaves included, farro, and a lemon vinaigrette.

Happy Fall Y’all!

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Mushroom Umami Burgers

September 11, 2014 in Entrees

Umami packed burgers with triple mushroom goodness.
mushroom burger

Mushrooms and beef are a flavor match made in heaven, and this burger is proof of that. The flavors and textures are just delicious and so worth a little extra fuss.

You will need dried mushrooms, which you can find at most health food stores. Pretty much any variety will work. Then, you turn them into a powder in your food processor or spice grinder and mix the powder into the ground beef – and Voila! – mushroomy goodness in a burger.

My Ode to End-of-Summer Days!

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Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

September 9, 2014 in Side Dishes

Roasted cauliflower, Spicy Edition.

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower, Spicy Edition

This recipe was made by a person who doesn’t like cauliflower: me.

I know, cauliflower is good for you. I know, cauliflower has a ton of anti-cancer powers. I know, cauliflower is packed with fiber, and low in carbs, and low in calories. I know all of that. I just have never liked it. Until now.

This roasted cauliflower has won me over. The creamy flesh of the roasted cauliflower paired with the spicy crust is just the perfect combo of flavors and textures. So, so good. And so easy. Just bake, then slather, then bake again. Cinchy!

This recipe was inspired by Fine Cooking Magazine this month – and their Roasted Cauliflower. I tweaked it to add spice and heat.

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Strawberry Balsamic No-Churn Ice Cream

September 5, 2014 in Desserts

No churning necessary for this beloved flavor pairing in ice cream form.

Strawberry Balsamic No-Churn Gelato

Strawberry Balsamic No-Churn Ice Cream-slash-Gelato

Though I’m lucky to have an ice cream churn attachment, I still love to make this Grapefruit Gelato of ours from time to time; it’s especially great to bust out as a houseguest offering a treat to underapplianced hosts. Since the magic has to do with the way the acidity in the grapefruit juice (or lemon or lime) reacts with the fat in the cream, I decided to experiment with another sweet + acidity combination: strawberries and balsamic vinegar. If citrus juices produced the desired effect, then surely vinegar would as well.

Behold! No-Churn Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream (or Gelato, as the texture reminds us a bit of that). I’m dying to try this with coconut milk sometime, too.  Read the rest of this entry →

Easy French Onion Chicken Recipe

September 3, 2014 in Entrees

 An easy dinner with the elegance of French Onion Soup.

French Onion Soup Chicken

Low Carb French Onion Soup Chicken dinner.

So, my family is divided into two camps: those who love French Onion Soup and those who are lame. Can you tell which camp I am in?

I love French Onion Soup. I crave it. I order it every chance I get. And so I decided to put these flavors in an easy weeknight meal.

(NOTE: I love this easy method of making quick caramelized onions – using baking soda as a cooking hack. Check it out to make this chicken dish – and any others that call for caramelized onions –  pronto!)

The soft, rich flavor of the onions with a little melted Gruyere cheese over chicken breasts is so delicious – this is my current go-to dinner obsession!

Happy Fall, Y’all!

– posted by Donna

 

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20 Minute Meal: Spicy Asian Green Beans and Shrimp

August 29, 2014 in Entrees, Healthy Fare

Green beans and shrimp for the Win!

Spicy and Asian is a good way to go with fresj=h green beans

Simple, easy and a perfect match of flavors and textures.

If you have a bounty of green beans in your garden right now – or you see a table at the Farmer’s Market piled high with green beans, do I ever have a dish for you!

This is a simple but stunning dish – and takes 20 minutes, max. The flavors of this sauce are clean and powerful, sweet and tangy. You could pretty much saute strips of leather in this sauce and they would be yummy!

Green beans are one of the healthiest things you can put in your mouth – so packed with nutrients. Healthy and yummy is a win-win!

 

– posted by Donna

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Easy Restaurant Style Enchilada Sauce (Gluten free, Vegan)

August 27, 2014 in Sauces and Other Goodies, Techniques

 Restaurant style enchiladas – on your home menu!

enchilada sauce

Easy enchilada sauce packed with restaurant worthy flavor.

This falls into the “Why Didn’t I Think of This Before?” category. Every year, our garden is overflowing with tomatoes this time of year. And every year I try to think of ways to preserve the bounty.

I have made my own tomato paste, and my own roasted tomato sauce for the freezer. But until now I have never made enchilada sauce for preserving. This is coming from a person who has as one of my go-to easy meals – huevos rancheros – which was one of my first posts on this blog (apologies for the very bad photo!) -So, you see, I use enchilada sauce all the time in my kitchen.

Enchilada sauce is a cinch to make – and I like to make the kind you eat and love in restaurants – thick and flavorful. And in my version, the chiles peppers thicken the sauce and so you don’t use flour. More flavor, no gluten.

You will have to use dried chile peppers for this recipe, which can be found at some grocery stores, but if you can find a Mexican market near you, they are very abundant and much cheaper there. I got a huge bag for just a few dollars.

You won’t regret the effort to make this flavorful sauce with just a small kick of heat – especially in February, when you can remember warm days in the garden in every bite!

– posted by Donna

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